Tip Tuesday — Moving Tips

So we’re a-movin’. I’m not an experienced mover or a shaker. Okay, that’s a lie. I can shake a little boo-tay when called upon. I’ve also moved a lot but this is my first experience moving with kids or into a single-family home. I am stinkin’ excited but also scared and I have an insane amount of stuff to get done… and here I blog.

It does help that we’ve hired Robo-Realtor. This woman has been cleaning my kitchen, putting in laundry loads, rearranging things and bringing in all kinds of furniture and home décor items that she thinks I’ll give back to her after she sells my house. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

The house is starting to look so great, I may not want to leave it after all. I’ll just live here with Robo-Realtor’s belongings and maybe she’ll use her laser eye beams to demolish the unit next-door and then plant us a lovely lawn. She is working so hard for us and is so sweet with the kids. She is an amazing advisor.

Please give me moving and packing advice today. How do I stay sane while showing the house? What do I do? How do I organize? Help please.

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47 Responses to Tip Tuesday — Moving Tips

  1. JD says:

    As you put stuff into boxes put different colors of dots to indicate which room they will be moving to. That way you can move the boxes to the right rooms with out reading lots of stuff on lables. Just follow the colors.

    Hint: it helps to not loose the key for color/room in the move.

  2. Kim C. says:

    Start weeding through your possessions maniacally. Get rid of anything you can bring yourself to part with – it will make the house look less cluttered and easier to keep clean, and make the move far easier.
    It’s a horrible feeling to kill yourself moving, then look at a pile of junk standing in your living room and ask, why did we move this?
    Start packing non-essentials a little at a time.
    And take time to label boxes thoroughly – especially if there’s any chance you won’t be unpacking everything right away (does anybody unpack everything?). That way you won’t be digging through 37 boxes trying to find that book you borrowed from your sister-in-law that is actually a library book, or your single most-favorite Christmas decoration that got packed separately from all the others because you love it so much.
    It helps to label the top and 2 sides of a box, if you have the time. You’re much less likely to have to move a whole stack of boxes just to see what’s in the bottom one.
    Staying sane while showing the house? I dunno. Maybe the family could camp out in the park behind the house for the next few months?

  3. Mammawannabe says:

    Sanity and moving aren’t two words that go together. I think the ladies before me are dead on with their suggestions (I’ve moved 6 times in 6 years). We are in the process of trying to sell our house right now – we seriously decluttered every single room and packed up the stuff we didn’t need into plastic storage bins (easier to see what’s inside) – with clear labels to tell us where it goes. So yeah, I’m basically telling you EXACTLY what the others are…sorry about that. Most importantly though, don’t stress out – the process itself isn’t very fun, but the end results are soooo worth it 🙂 Good luck!!!

  4. Mammawannabe says:

    oooh, I almost forgot – http://www.organizedhome.com has a great moving article and I believe they have a checklist that you can print off too 🙂

  5. We’re also in the process of selling our house and moving. The biggest pain in the universe? Having a realtor that you thought was going to show up at 2:15 (so of course you left the house from 2 until 3:15 so they could be alone with their client without your 2 kids underfoot and screaming) not show up until 3:45, when you’ve returned home and unpacked. But hey, it’s not like you’re at the realtors mercy or anything, right? 🙂 We’ve asked realtors who want to show our house to their clients to give us 1 hour notice – doesn’t mean it’ll happen for sure, but it helps. Then, I keep 2 big bags in the car: one for me with books, magazines, and small projects. Another for the boys – kind of like an “extended day diaper bag” – park/sand toys, a blanket, snacks, crayons and coloring book, extra clothes, etc. That way, the only thing I have to worry about when a realtor calls is cleaning the house, and not getting myself or the kids ready for what could be several hours away from home at the last second. Good luck!

  6. Nettie says:

    Unfortunately, I’ve had way too much experience doing this. Ditto the other ladies, plus:

    buy a packaging tape gun thingy

    wrap glass items such as plates, mirrors, framed pictures in paper and stand on their edges in a padded box or wrapped in cardboard. Laying flat, if the truck hits a bump they are more likely to break.

    Renting a truck:
    Budget and Penske beat out Uhaul and Ryder any day!

    Picking up from a nearby smaller city can be significantly cheaper.

    They notoriously overbook in the summer. Reserve a day ahead of when you actually need it to make sure you get one when you want. Ask for a discount when the truck isn’t available the day you reserved.

    The AAA discount for a long distance rental makes getting the membership worthwhile.

    You may be able to get an additional discount by booking online.

    Get LOTS of the packing blankets.

    Arrange for utility turn ons in your new place for the day before you get there.

    Find a place to put all the boxes until you unpack them (basement, garage). It is much easier and peaceful to set up furniture and live in a house that isn’t cluttered with boxes everywhere.

    Pack a “first unpack” box(es) that go on the truck last and come off it first. Include: bedding, bath items such as shower curtains, towels, tp. Also, cleaning supplies. Kitchen stuff: paper produts, canned food, pan, can opener, snacks. Some basic tools: hammer, screwdrivers, light bulbs.

    Unpack the kitchen first.

    Let the kids color and decorate the boxes that have their stuff in them.

    Wardrobe boxes take up a lot of space, don’t get them if space is a premium.

    Departments stores and office supply stores are good places to get free boxes.

    The Post Office has a moving pack that has postcards for address changes, plus great coupons (sometimes for moving van discounts).

    Sorry about the novel length comment!

  7. andrea says:

    I will be scrutinising your every move as we are right behind you. The place we saw last night was an overpriced dump, but they can’t all be like that can they? Post all good hints/suggestions, and send robo-realtor north of the border! (my kitchen could use her special touch 🙂

  8. Caryn says:

    Your realtor does sound great! That’s wonderful. My two pieces of advice are as follows: First, from Flylady. You can do anything for fifteen minutes. Set a timer for that long, and see how much you can get done in that time. When it goes off, you may be into the task enough to set it for another fifteen, and then another. Going in those increments helps. Also, you can have the kids help by creating races where they have to gather items of a certain color, etc. Oh, and when you first move in you’ll probably be so excited that you want to unpack everything at once. Take advantage of that, because it doesn’t last!

  9. carrie says:

    We numbered every box and put number along with the contents in a word processor document. It’s a lot easier to detail out everything in the the box that way. And if you decide to unpack a box and put other stuff in it, you don’t have to change any of the writing on the box, just on your list. And then you don’t have twenty five items crossed out with another twenty five to write and hopefully be able to decipher when you’re unpacking at your new house.

    Also, PAPER PLATES! We used them a lot the week before we moved, and it was so convenient. You can actually pack your eating utensils now instead of having to wait until moving day if you use plastic.

    And make sure you throw a lot of stuff away, because I guarantee once you’re in your new house you’ll still wonder why you moved certain things.

    Good luck! Moving into new places is so much fun!

  10. Emily says:

    It will always take you longer than you think,so start now. And someone mentioned FlyLady–there’s this great concept called a 27-Fling Boogie. You go through a room, or the whole house, and don’t stop until you’ve thrown away 27 things.

    Also–kids’ toys–do whatever you can (with or without their help) to minimize what they have or at least what they have out. Creative stuff is usually a winner, but you know your kids.

    And don’t ever leave dishes sitting around the house. Or in the sink. Do them when you’re done with them. If someone comes when you’re not expecting, they won’t necessarily mind kids playing but they mind mess.

  11. If you can, get your mom/sister/best friend to work with you a day before the BIG move & just move the kitchen. We found this to be so helpful (Dad & Husband took down the playhouse & moved it at the same time). The BIG move day we had a working kitchen for the crockpot BBQ beef sandwiches we made for the friends who came to help. Also, the kids made a sign for each room that said the name of the room in the color of that room. Folks who hadn’t been in our new house before knew where to put each box (we used a bag of colored “Sharpies” when packing to write “family room” or whatever on the top of each box). We also drew an arrow up on all the boxes that went up to the second floor & an arrow down for the boxes that went to the basement. Our move went so quick that even the MEN commented how organized we were!
    Important note: everyone needs a certain amount of organization without going overboard–find what level you require & then make a plan that will work for you! I remember our moving season (last year at this time) with joy…you can do it!!

  12. Tess says:

    The boxes that I found were easiest to pack and move myself were boxes for copy paper which you can probably ask for at your local office supply company. They have lids and are not very heavy even if crammed full of books.

    Hmmmm what else – I definitely agree w/ Nettie about an “Unpack this box first” solution.

    One thing that helped us when we moved last was we arranged to have the apartment keys a week before we closed on the house we were selling. It was a 20 minute drive, so we would cram our car full of as many boxes and smaller furniture items as possible. So when we rented the truck and borrowed 7 of my friends’ husband, we were done moving the heavy stuff within 2 hours. I don’t know if that will work for you, but it certainly helped us stay more organized.

  13. I “second” what Carrie says about numbering boxes. We have moved several times and I’ve found the best way to pack/unpack is to have boxes numbered and then keep a notebook with each box’s number and a detailed list of the contents.

    Get rid of anything you don’t like or need. With what’s left, pack what you don’t need first. (Extra blankets, towels, toys, etc.)

    When showing your house, leave nice music playing quietly on a stereo or something and have some sort of air freshner. When your potential buyers come in, they will hear the music, smell the yummy aroma, and they’ll just feel good about being in your home.

    Good luck!

  14. Karen says:

    I’ve spent most of my life moving.

    1. Rent a truck. With children it’s hard to do the “ask friends with pick-up trucks to help and do 30 loads back and forth”. Rent the truck (like U-Haul for example)for a 1/2 day, have your house ready to move out on moving day (no loose stuff laying around ANYWHERE). Load the truck. Drive to new house. Unload the truck. Return rental truck. It’s worth every penny. Your friends will thank you too. No one likes to show to help someone move only to find that they aren’t even done packing. What a mess. This might mean that you spend the night at a friend’s house the night before moving day because your entire home is packed.

    2. When you unload the truck stack the boxes in the garage with aisles in between rather than bringing every single box in the house. This way you can unpack one at a time without a huge mess in the house. The aisles make it easier to see where the different boxes are with ease. You could even sort the aisles by room.

    3. As each room/closet/cupboard empties clean it. On moving day let the men doing the hauling and have at least one friend come over to help you clean. By cleaning on moving day as it clears out you will be able to lock the front door and walk away when the truck leaves the driveway. Then you can focus 100% on settling in your new house.

    4. Get a babysitter for the kids to disappear to on moving day. Even if you have to pay them. Moving day can be dangerous for small children.

    5. Call to arrange up utility changes (shut off/turn on) at least a week before you move to prevent time lapses. Phone and cable TV are the worst for needing to be scheduled. Don’t shut off the water or power on the old house if you plan to return to clean it the week after you move out. Set your mail to begin forwarding a day or two before you move so that you aren’t continuously going back to the old house to pick up unforwarded mail.

    6. In a box in your car put toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates & cups, soap, your favorite cleaning products, and a towel for taking to the new house. You’ll need these things within an hour of being there for sure and it stinks to realize you’ve packed them.

    Being prepared and completely packed ON moving day = an easier, smoother, less stressful move.

  15. emlouisa says:

    Okay. I have a secret. I am a moving snob. We’ve only had to move ourselves one time, and that was less than 3 blocks away. We just chucked everything into laundry baskets and dumped away.

    The other two times we have moved I just sat on a lawn chair “supervising” (reading a book) while frightening-looking men rummaged through my things.

    The good thing about that is that every box is like Christmas. You have no idea what is in each one. Oh the joy.

    Oh, and lol about your realtor. You should “trade” your furniture and other items withher. I’m sure she wouldn’t notice.

  16. Gabriela says:

    Hey DYM, looks like you have got a lot of good tips already (and a cool relator!). I have a little experience in this department, we are about to make our 6th move in 8 years, all with at least one kid.

    Here’s a tip that’s not logistical. Moving is tough. Even if it is a very desirable or very close-in-proximity move, change and the human spirit just aren’t the best of friends in my opinion. Anxiety will arise for both you and your kids and sometimes will manifest itself in strange ways. So, when I start feeling anxious, I just accept it. Not try to analyze it too much, or expect to much out of my kids, but just say, “Yes I am moving. I am going to feel strange for a little while. It is OK. This too shall pass.”

    So my advice is take extra good care of yourself and be very patient with your little ones (not that you aren’t already, but you know what I mean). And sometimes with little kids, they don’t have an immediate reaction. They can seem fine during the actual move but a month later start crying about something they remember about their old house. Totally normal.

    Good luck!

  17. kyouell says:

    Loved these tips! I have a variation on the colored dots. We used the large rectangular colored labels from an office supply store. Each room had its own color and there was still space to write a summary of what was inside. An example: the orange labels were for my office and one box got a “2-software” on it. The “2” was for second floor. That way none of the helpers had to guess which floor a box went to.

    Also, we scheduled our move for a week after the carpet would be replaced in the new house. HA! The carpet store rescheduled with the carpet installers for the same day we moved without telling us! It all still worked out though. The installers understood that we didn’t know what had happened and worked super fast; the friends unloaded to the garage, the truck was returned, and then the boxes could be moved inside. For such a horrible shock the morning of the move, it all turned out fine. So whatever happens, don’t worry, it can work out!

  18. slawebb says:

    I agree with the Flylady suggestion. Slow and stread wins, fast and frantic leads to breakdowns! I’ve moved 6 times in 7 years, 3 of which were to different sates. I totally agree on the tape gun, I love my tape gun! It was worth every penny!!! I also agree on the not unpacking everything right away, put it in a staging area. Set a goal to unpack a reasonable number of boxes (sfter my last move it was 2 boxes per day.) If it’s a reasonable number of boxes then it will be easy to accomplish and you will feel great when you can do more then the goal. The other thing is never leave a box half unpacked. If you need one thing out of the box you have to unpack the whole box. Dunring my previous move I half unpacked a box and a couple of weeks later my 1 year old helped unpack the stake knives. Yikes! There are my suggestions, hope they help. Good luck with the move!

  19. Aunt Murry says:

    Number the boxes and keep a running list of what is in each box, it makes it easier to find what you need when you get moved. All you have to do is go to the list them find the numbered box. Trust me on this one. It has saved me more than once. Have a seperate box packed for bed linens that will be used the first night. Also have a bag with TP, soap and paper towels that will be needed right away handy. I always take my kids (read puppies) to my parents for the day. I would have your kids pick out 10 to 15 (or what ever number you choose) toys that they really want to keep and give the rest to the Goodwill or church. I pack dishes and the kitchen last. I always have a box marcked “Stuff I don’t know what to do with” it helps with things you literally can’t throw away yet don’t belong anywhere. I have a box for my moving supplies, Marker, Tape, Scissors, pen, and pad, that why the box goes from place to place and I don’t worry about where my tape went. If I think of anymore, I leave a seperate comment.

  20. Aunt Murry says:

    Oh you can do a change of address online at the USPS website.

  21. Nutella says:

    What excellent tips you have! I like the idea of unpacking 2 boxes per day. I would also set a goal for packing. My goal was 2 boxes per day for 2 weeks. I started with winter clothes, books, knickknacks, dishes I didn’t use much, dvd’s, cd’s (keeping out a case for the time when we would have everything packed). Also, make a very thorough list of things that you think you will need immediately…towels, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, make-up, clothes, toaster, plates, etc. That way you can keep these things in a separate boxes (or in your car) to unpack immediately after you get there. Lastly, Label, label, label. I wrotedown almost everything that is in each box.

  22. Lauren says:

    Think about what you really want to keep and throw. Encourage Laylee to do the same — my mom made a really, really fun game out of this called keep or throw (it’s exactly how it sounds, with a basket for each). Also think storage solutions. The Storables/Containter Store in U Village are amazing and affordable…if you have a plan for what’s going to go where before you move, it’s that much easier.
    Also — use your mothers’ helper for pack/move, or do a kid swap play date dealie for a few days (you take a friends’ kids for afternoon x if she’ll take yours on afternoon y so you can unpack) — that concentrated no kid time is golden. This from a woman who has no kids, and thus spent three weeks just moving. One box at a time. On the subway.

    I don’t recommend that.

  23. Grammy says:

    Absolutely pack everything you will be needing the 1st day together in “high priority” labeled boxes. Don’t forget to include drugs (you may need them) and security items in there. Let Laylee decide which things she has to keep with her to minimize trauma right at first.

    Somehow, we never had the time or consistency to write down an itemized list of all box contents. What worked for me, was packing things that go together in the same boxes then putting a general label on top and sides. I love the idea of colored label stickers for different rooms. That would have worked for me.

    Most importantly, remember to keep breathing and DON’T pack the kids!

  24. Kim C. says:

    About having the utilities turned on ahead of time: make sure somebody checks out the house asap.
    We once made an interstate move and arrived at our new house 5 days after the utilities were turned on. Apparently, none of the neighbors wondered why water was running out of the front door for 5 days. The entire house was flooded 3″ deep because the washer valve had been left open by the previous tenant.
    Ugh. Welcome to Texas.

  25. Pam says:

    Great suggestions so far. I’ll just add – 2 tape guns were necessary for us – one upstairs and one down. And cheap coffee filters work great stacking them in between each plate.

  26. When it’s time for the actual move, before you do ANYTHING else, do two things:

    1.Move in completely to your kitchen–food in the fridge, glasses in cabinets, etc. You can take your time on the other stuff, but set up your kitchen right away. Be thinking NOW about common sense places to put your silverware, cups, blender, etc.

    2. And obviously, make the beds right away. Other stuff can wait.

    But speaking of making beds, here’s a simple little thing I’ve always done to help the little kids feel at home right away–when you take your sheets off the bed the last time in the old house, DON’T WASH THEM. Put them back on the kids’ beds “dirty” in the new house, so that their first couple of nights in the new place, their bed will still smell like home. You know how kids are connecting with smells.

    So, when will we get to see pictures of the new place?

  27. Sunny says:

    I’m just going to tell you good luck, and I agree with color-coding boxes with rooms.

    And Pack the kids rooms last, and unpack the kids rooms first. Makes life SO much easier on them, especially if you have baby gates to confine them while you’re working on the rest of the unpacking 🙂

  28. I could write a book on this…(I lived in a house with an infant/ toddler for six months while it was on the market – that’s a story in itself), but I’ll keep it brief. The other comments you’ve gotten here are marvelous. I would add one personal moral to the story:

    This is a huge thing to kids…Change is a little scarey, especially when they can feel your stress, too, and they can’t grasp the full picture of “moving.” (My 3-year-old still asks if we can go see how our old house is doing, and we moved a few months ago.) While you are trying to sell, as long as you are in your current home, let Laylee and Magoo live and play as normally as possible, which will be SUPER hard with the stress that anyone might call any minute to come see your “showrooms.” The #1 thing to remember in selling a house is that the SERIOUS buyers will look at the bones of your house, and they will not be deterred by the legos or princess costumes strewn about on occasion. I can’t tell you what relief I felt after six months with one realtor – this was during the house market time when most people didn’t have a property on the market for more then 24 hours before there was an offer, it was an amazing townhouse in a good part of town, and it took six months?!?! – and she had me putting candles out to burn (I’m allergic) and baking sugar cookies to make the place smell like home, telling me that it was better to be completely out of the house when people came (which was more comfortable for me most of the time, but sometimes impossible), making me keep the lights on constantly, and the blinds open in all the rooms (hello, naptime!!!), and that I should probably repaint the nursery (which I adored but she felt it was too personal and bright and would turn people off), and that one couch in that one obscure room really needed a slip cover and the storage closet needed emptied, even once insinuating that the house would sell if we comepletely moved out. Seriously, every time someone looked but didn’t buy, she would remind me of all these things and I felt so slovenly every moment that the water spots weren’t wiped up around the sink, and it made me even more frustrated with my little boy, who suddenly became a mess everywhere he toddled in the place.

    Then the homeownders got a new realtor who said, “Don’t worry about the little messes – your little boy’s smile alone will sell this place.” And it was sold within a week, crammed closet, unslipcovered couch and all. The new homeowner’s favorite room? The nursery, which she said was perfect for her older son, thank you very much.

    Sounds like you have a good realtor – I just wanted to share the perspective I wish I would have had months earlier in our situation: It’s most important to put Laylee and Magoo first and relax about the little things. Serious buyers know what’s important, so you are free to make the interim life of moving a lot smoother for you and your kids.

    My other tip: Keep the boxes small for most household gifts. The perfect ones I found in the recycle bin behind B&N Bookseller (that’s my own little Mwa ha ha ha ha) – they were made for books, so they’re manageable even when packed with heavier items. Other good ones are the clever folding ones from the produce department – they seriously require no tape and are also a nice manageable size. And free.

    For moving day(s) – plan for babysitting. My VTs were awesome in this department (I hadn’t thought about it or asked anyone and they showed up and took my kids – the kids were happier playing, we were faster loading up, and everyone felt blessed because of the service).

  29. kate says:

    don’t forget the faux scent of home cooking! a little water in a sauce pan on the stove, throw some cinnamon and nutmeg in there. will ensure happy feelings when peeps walk in!

  30. Suzi says:

    There have been tons of really good tips here. One I haven’t seen yet is one that we utilized on our last move and it saved my life and sold our house.

    We rented a storage unit (for a month) and took every single thing that we didn’t need, including family pictures, books, Christmas decorations, etc. over there. It was already packed there. And the good thing was that our house seemed much larger, even to us.

    Clear out every closet of the off-season shoes and clothes. Put extra furniture in there. Put your extra towels and sheets, if you have those, there, too. Pack some of the kids’ toys up and unpack those first at the new house. That will give the toys some novelty, which might keep them busier while you are overwhelmed.

    Finally, no one said this and it does put a huge burden on you, but I moved with my family 19 times growing up, and this comes from that. Unpack everything in the first two weeks. We found that if it wasn’t unpacked in two weeks it would not be unpacked till the next move.

    And, because I have heard this, don’t throw out boxes you haven’t unpacked. Just because there was no space in this house for my great-grandmother’s dollhouse doesn’t mean I want to get rid of it. So if you haven’t unpacked and you think you haven’t missed it, open the boxes before giving them away.

    But once you’ve opened a long closed box, unless there’s a family heirloom in there or that x that you have been looking all over for, take the stuff to someone who can use it.

  31. flipflop says:

    Leave it all to the hubby and go to the beach. Come back when it’s done.

  32. Kristen says:

    Well, I am the most unorganized mover on the face of the planet, so I don’t think I have much in the way of advice. But congrats on the new house. Have fun. Two moves ago, I was 9 months pregnant, and my most recent move, I had a 3 month old with colic. So I am not in any hurry to do it again.

    By the way, sounds like you had fun last weekend. I wish I could’ve gone. I’m so jealous you all got to hang out with my wonderful cousins. 🙁 Maybe next time.

  33. jessica says:

    If you’re moving to some place relatively close and have some wiggle room between when you can move in and when you have to move out (like a week or two), I recommend packing the “unnecessary” stuff a little at a time – no more than a van load a day (focusing on a room a day is also a good idea so you know where everything will be unpacked to in the new place). Then when Daring Young Dad gets home from work take the van-load over to the new place and unpack as best you can (the goal is to have as much moved-in and unpacked as possible before you actually move-in). Ideally, this will leave only furniture, appliances and a few “essential” boxes for moving day. And a huge plus with this technique is that you’re already pretty much moved in when you finally get the big truck and load up your furniture.

    Also, I second getting the kids out of the way. I did this myself our last move since I was pregnant at the time, but I would have prefered to be able to help with the move (getting everything where it was supposed to go) so getting someone else to take them is a good idea. And, the color-coded box idea is a great one and a sanity saver – especially with an elder’s quorum moving team. Put colored dots on every box (different color for each room) and also label each room in the new house with the appropriate color. That way you don’t have to stand there reading every box as it comes in the house and telling people where to take it.

    Sorry, one more… I’ve read that kids do better with a move if you concentrate on putting their room completely together (first). It makes them feel less threatened by the move, or something profound like that. Worked for us anyway. We got the boys all settled in first (even sheets on beds) and they didn’t seem to have any problem with the move.

    By the way, I assume this means that you’re “movin’ on up.” We want details as soon as you have time. Congrats!!

  34. We’ve moved 9 (or is it 10?) times in the five years we’ve been married….

    We learned with our last two moves that it is actually almost just as cheap and much, much, MUCH faster to hire someone to do the actual moving. We pack everything and then have a company come and move all of the furniture and boxes. We decided to do this the first time we had to move with our giganto piano and we’ll never go back! After you rent a U-Haul, pay for gas, and spend ALL DAY moving, it’s so worth it to pay the pros.

  35. EvaRob says:

    Make sure your movers are sober! When we moved, the movers left a HUGE joint in our living room….we were really peeved, and then they broke a mirror!

  36. Julie says:

    My number #1 – don’t use UHAUL. They suck. They have never (in 3 moves) had the truck we had reserved (we always need the much larger one). They may be cheaper but so NOT worth the stress.

    Look into hiring movers to just move (not pack) your stuff. It may not be as expensive as you think. I packed all our stuff but hired movers for the rest. We actually had to put our stuff in portable pods (3 weeks w/ no home) in between. We got 3 guys at $75/hr and they worked their butts off (in Phoenix in July – 110 degrees) Total cost was about $900 and it took them extra long because they had to be REALLY meticulous about packing the pods to fit everything in. Probably cost us an extra 2 hours at least.

    But it was so worth it. They wrap all the furniture and pad it. When you move yourself no matter how careful you and your friends are, stuff gets scratched, nicked, etc.

    Use your towels and blankets to help pack large fragiles like pictures.

    Instead of using newspaper to pack, see about buying unprinted newsprint from your local newspaper. It comes in stacked sheets and that way you don’t get black stuff all over you and your dishes.

    As organized as I am I never felt the need to list out all the stuff in the box. I’d just label it dishes, utensils and I’d get the general gist of it. As long as you pack like items together you’re safe.

    Ditto on the have everything packed. Seriously, you’ll think you’re all packed and you’ll be amazed at how much stuff is still laying around. Inevitably it gets thrown in a couple boxes at the last minute that linger in your garage for months on end.

  37. theresa says:

    Wow lots of good tips here…

    Moved 3 times in 10 the past 10 months.

    My house is on the market now!

    I have a 3 yr. old and a 15 mos. old.

    My two cents:

    1) Unpack the kids FIRST! Set up rooms so they feel like they are at their “old” home.

    2) Do the “UNPACK FIRST” box!! Make sure you have tee pee and water!

    Selling house two cents:

    1) Keep house somewhat “picked up” through out the day and do dishes immediately after using them.
    (It’s true most serious buyers can get past the clutter but it never hurts to look nice!)

    2)I play light classical musical on the TV everytime I leave the house. And, just get a couple of those Glade Plugin Freshners. (It’s true these things may not matter to some but they must work or Model homes wouldn’t bake cookies throughout the day and virtual tours online wouldn’t have music playing with them!)

    BTW – I had a last minute showing at my old house and didn’t have time to ‘pick-up’. They ended up buying! Just food for thought…and congratulations on your new home!

  38. ABC Momma says:

    Have a quick-pick-up basket that you can throw in toys, papers, and other things that may be out when the realtor calls to show the house. Put the basket in the coat closet and leave.

    Just go for a walk in the forest across the street until the people leave.

    When you come back home, bring out the basket and everyone can get back to whatever they were doing before.

  39. Momma Mindi says:

    I want your realtor! She is doing your laundry???

    I have two tips – pack the kids’ stuff last – if they can access their things while all of the chaos is happening, it is much easier on them and…
    pick a color for each room – mark each box with that color and then when you get to the new house, hang a piece of colored construction paper on the door of each room where those boxes go, that way anybody who is helping you can just put the boxes in the right spot without having to ask you a million questions.

    Good luck!


  40. I thought of a few more things:
    triple the ditto of not using u-haul – for our last move, the truck that was “reserved” for us had been stolen two weeks previous, and they were just hoping it might be found, so they never called us to tell us the truck we’d have to use was much, much smaller. We were doing in-town, thank goodness, or else we would’ve been in huge trouble.

    Also – the usps and changing your address online – don’t do it. 1) they charged us a buck, and then it didn’t work and they wouldn’t refund me. I know it was only $1, but we’re talking PRINCIPLE here, people. Big deal. Anyway, when I went to the post office to find out what was going on they said they could tell I’d done it online but it just never “registered”. That oops almost cost me a bunch of bucks in late bills that I forgot about with the stress of the move.

    Then – boxes. Look for used boxes on craigslist. Lots of people give them away free. Through craigslist I found a guy who resells very gently used boxes – any size – for 3/$1, which is dirt-freakin’-cheap. The small boxes cost $1.50 new here, so wowzers, I’ll take my savings where I can find them.

  41. kfk says:

    For your dresser drawers, if you empty them out before you move them, put a sheet of packing paper between each drawerful of clothes, that way when you unpack them, it is easier to separate the contents.
    Throw all your junk drawer items into a ziploc bag so you can easily dump them right in to the new one.
    As far as keeping the home show worthy, good luck!

  42. Stephanie says:

    Just make sure it is in boxes, and come moving day, get someone to watch the kiddies.

  43. Amy says:

    Long, slow, deep breaths! In with the good, out with the bad.

    Oh, and use all your towels and off season clothing to wrap mirrors and dishes. That way you don’t have to buy packing wrap and it takes a lot less room. I’ve done this on cross country moves, but you may not want to try it when you are just going across town.

    Best wishes!

  44. The wife and I have moved 7 times in the past two years – including two 3 month jaunts overseas – so we know a bit about packing stuff up 😉

    As others have noted, label boxes, but I’d argue for writing names/using labels on everything rather than stickers as things are easier to identify that way.

    Use SMALLER boxes – not huge ones. We were able to get a lot of boxes that hold 10 reams of paper from my work, and they were perfect – sturdy, small, easy to write on, easy to unpack, easy to stack, etc. Smaller boxes are easy to move up stairs or anywhere, and if those helping you move are smaller themselves or otherwise less capable of heavy lifting, they’ll appreciate it.

    Food – get a lot of easily prepared, quick microwaveable meals ready. We’ve always used hot dogs and potato chips, but you might be healthier than us 😉

    Packing – get it done ASAP, and label boxes as “vital” and “non-vital” so you’ll know what to unpack first (we used circles for non-vital, stars for vital).

    Priorities – Get basic kitchen supplies ready for your quickly prepared meals (use PAPER plates, cups, etc., you’ll appreciate it later as you just don’t have time to mess with dishes while moving) and, as my mother-in-law directs, set up and make the beds first. This will at least give you a way to rest when the time comes and oh will it come.

    Blankets – wrap anything and everything vital, you’ll appreciate them.

    Get a dolly, especially if your new home makes using one convenient.

    Designate a storage room for all those non-essentials that don’t really fit. We call ours the “study”, to sound all the more sophisticated 😉

    Wall-hangings like photos, paintings, etc. – store these separately and hang them once you’ve got the furniture in place and aren’t moving stuff around too much (you don’t want to knock them off the wall, so use common senese). Doing this will accomplish two things – get these often fragile items out of the way, preventing them from getting broken, and give the home a much more finished feel – nothing’s worse than bare walls.

    Keeping the kiddos happy – We don’t have kids yet, but I imagine setting up a bedroom for the kids with a TV and a stack o’ DVDs should at least keep Laylee happy and out of the way. Don’t know about Magoo… just have the DYD feed him, and that should put him to sleep 😉

    That’s all I can think of for the moment… we’re frequent movers (longest stay in one place – 8 months, shortest stay – 2 months), so it’s become second nature to us 😉

  45. Margaret says:

    I hope this doesn’t post twice – stupid blogger.

    I have moved 3 times in the last 9 months, and what keeps me sane is a “box free” zone. PIck a room and don’t allow ANY boxes in there – bedroom, family room, whatever. That is the sanctuary to retreat to when the craziness takes over.

  46. HALLEYVILLE says:

    The best place to get ink free packing paper is at your local newspaper ….they sell the end reams cheap…75 cents to $2 and they are easy to take to a room and pack….call you local linens & things and request boxes….make sure you get there on an agreed time….unlimited heavy duty boxes for kitchen!!! all free for the asking….Pack as much as you can now…put each color dot box in rows in garage or a PODS….larger frame shops have tons of boxes for pics,ect…

  47. We’ve moved a lot and I pack the boxes by room. Then when I see the room name labeled on the box, I know it’s only something from that room.

    Use clean, regulation packing paper so you don’t get ink from newspaper on stuff.

    When you actually move to the new house, have ALL the boxes moved into the garage in some sort of line that you can walk between. (be sure they’re labeled) Only have the furniture moved into the rooms where it belongs. Then unpack one box at a time, put the stuff away where you want it, flatten the box and haul it out somewhere so it’s not in your way. It seriously reduces the clutter.

    Then give the kids a good empty box to play with. The best toy on the planet!! The packing paper is great with a box of crayons.

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